Experience with depression and burnout

TW: suicidal thoughts

I was first diagnosed with depression during my sophomore year in high school. It was not the best thing to hear for a 15-year-old teenager, but it also didn’t come as a shock to me. Looking back, I burned myself out. I would stay up until 3:30 am every night working on homework assignments, projects, SAT practice exams, etc. However, I still never thought I was doing enough. I would always discourage myself and tell myself I’m not capable of getting into a prestigious college or being successful in the future. I knew at that moment when I was first diagnosed, I had to do something and change the way I think about myself. And I did. I continued to work hard while maintaining a healthy amount of sleep and surrounding myself with a group of people who constantly remind me I can succeed in life. Additionally, I became the head captain for my school’s Cross Country and Track & Field team and president of my school’s Chinese Cultural Club throughout my senior year. I remember shaking the principal’s hand during my graduation ceremony, as I was receiving my diploma, thinking how proud I was to overcome a challenge many teenagers and young adults were and are facing today.

However, that was only the first wave.

Four years later, I faced the same challenge. The world was caught off guard when we were all told to stay in our homes as COVID-19 continued to spread and affect the lives of many. I remember having a hard time adjusting to online learning. I began to lose motivation waking up early, thinking I can just watch the recording but never end up doing it. I began to gain weight, which led to me losing self-confidence. I began arguing with my siblings and parents, thinking that they don’t care about me at all. I began distancing myself from my friends, assuming that they don’t want to talk to me since we’re not altogether on campus anymore. I began having negative thoughts, concluding that there’s no possible way I can do well that semester. I began having suicidal thoughts, wondering what the world will be like if I wasn’t a part of it. I felt like I was faced with so many hurdles in front of me, knowing that I wasn’t capable of jumping over any of them.

On May 16, 2020, my life flashed before my eyes. I woke up in a hospital bed that night and was told I had three unexpected seizures a couple of hours before and I wouldn’t have made it if my little brother didn’t find me on my bedroom floor. I was terrified and wondered how I was still alive. When hearing what happened, I remember seeing my mother across the other side of the room crying and fearing for my life. I also saw my phone blowing up with 100+ text messages from 50+ friends. That’s when it hit me. I was given a second chance at life. My family does care about me. My friends do care about me. I am worth living. At that moment, I reminded myself that if I can get through my first wave of depression during my time in high school, I am more than capable of going through it again in the future. Those hurdles may not have been easy to jump over in the beginning, but it is meant to be jumped over at some point.

I began slowly finding my way back into life. I also began having faith in God. I realized that He put me here for a reason.

What I went through is something I wish no one would have to go through in life. However, I hope this inspires others that every person stepping foot on this Earth has more than a reason to live. Every person is destined here to make the world a better place and they are capable of doing that. We will all have those difficult hurdles to jump over, but we’re all capable of jumping over every single one of them.

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